neoSome time ago (aka last month) it was announced that Spike Lee would be doing a movie about African-American soldiers in Italy during WWII. At the time it seemed like that project would come before Spike could work on a James Ellroy film, The Night Watchman. Well, something happened somewhere in Hollywood and the Ellroy film is in fact Spike’s next, and he’s hired Keanu Reeves to play the lead.

Ellroy’s script is about a disgraced cop who ferrets out corruption in the force and seeks to redeem himself. It sounds like a return to a grittier Spike after the serious misstep of She Hate Me, which is nice. No review was ever harder to write than my negative take on that film (although if the buzz on The Aviator is right, that might become the hardest).

Reeves has been having something of a renaissance in recent years. The Matrix did his career good, in that he keeps getting roles, but I wish there were more Night Watchmans and fewer Hardballs. Next year looks interesting – while he has Constantine coming, which has been getting some poisonous early notices at test screenings, he also has better looking fare like Thumbsucker and Richard Linklater’s Philip K Dick film, A Scanner Darkly.

Filming on The Night Watchman is set to begin in February, after Keanu finishes flogging Constantine.